With 6.1 GW of new capacity added, 2019 was the best year in history for the global offshore wind industry, which is expected to make a major contribution to post-Covid-19 recovery
The Global Wind Energy Council (GWEC) says 2019 was the best year on record for offshore wind, with 6.1 GW of new capacity added globally, bringing total global cumulative installations to 29.1 GW.
China remains in the number one spot for the second year in a row for new installations, installing a record 2.4 GW, followed by the UK at 1.8 GW and Germany at 1.1 GW.
While Europe continues to be the leading region for offshore wind, countries in the Asia-Pacific region, such as Taiwan, Vietnam, Japan, South Korea and the US market are quickly picking up the pace and will be regions of significant growth in the next decade.
GWEC’s Market Intelligence forecasts that through 2030, more than 205 GW of new offshore wind capacity will be added globally, including at least 6.2 GW of floating offshore wind. This represents a 15 GW increase from the forecasts in GWEC Market Intelligence’s pre-Covid-19 forecast, demonstrating the resilience of the sector to play a major role in powering both the energy transition and a green recovery. As a result, global offshore wind capacity will reach at least 234 GW by 2030.
GWEC chief executive Ben Backwell said, “Offshore wind is truly going global, as governments around the world recognise the role that the technology can play in kickstarting post-Covid-19 economic recovery through large-scale investment, creating jobs and bringing economic development to coastal communities.
“Over the coming decade we will see emerging offshore markets like Japan, South Korea and Vietnam move to full deployment, and see the first offshore turbines installed in a number of new countries in Asia, Latin America and Africa.
“The report shows that 900,000 jobs will be created in the offshore sector over the next decade – and this number can only increase if policymakers put in place recovery strategies that can further accelerate growth of the sector.
“Furthermore, 1 GW of offshore wind power avoids 3.5M tonnes of CO2 – making it the most effective available large-scale technology to avoid carbon emissions and displace fossil fuels in many geographies.”
GWEC strategy director Feng Zhao said, “The industry’s outlook has grown more promising as more and more countries around the world are waking up to the immense potential of offshore wind.
As the market continues to grow, innovations in the sector such as floating offshore wind, larger and more efficient turbines, as well as power-to-X solutions will continue to open new doors and markets for the sector and place the offshore industry in an increasingly important position to drive the global energy transition.”
“Offshore wind has already proven itself as an affordable, scalable, zero-carbon technology, and maximising the growth potential of the industry has depended on collaborative action between governments and industry for market design, to set clear capacity targets, undertake forward-looking planning for infrastructure development and workforce requirements.
“There are plenty of lessons we can take from offshore wind development in Europe to ensure the long-term success and growth of the industry in new markets around the globe, as we are only beginning to unlock the full clean energy potential of offshore wind.”
GWEC said the global offshore market has grown on average by 24% each year since 2013. Europe remains the largest market for offshore wind as of the end of 2019, making up 75% of total global installations. Europe will continue to be a leader in offshore wind, with an ambitious 450 GW goal by 2050 driven by installations in the UK, the Netherlands, France, Germany, Denmark and Poland, with several other EU markets posting double-digit volumes.
North America currently has just 30 MW of offshore wind capacity in operation at the end of 2019, but deployment will accelerate in the coming years with 23 GW forecast to be installed by 2030. The majority of this growth will come from the budding industry in the US, and we can expect to already see utility-scale projects coming online by 2024 in the country.
The report highlights increased activity levels in the Asia-Pacific region thanks to increased national ambition, led by China where 52 GW of new offshore wind capacity is expected to be installed by 2030.
Taiwan is set to become the second-largest offshore wind market in Asia after mainland China, with a goal of 5.5 GW by 2025 and an additional 10 GW by 2035.
Other markets in the region are also beginning to scale-up their offshore wind markets, with Vietnam, Japan and South Korea expected to install 5.2 GW, 7.2 GW and 12 GW of offshore wind capacity, respectively.
New markets are in the preparation phase. Examples include Brazil, Mexico, India, Sri Lanka, Australia and many more. In Europe, the existing market will expand into Ireland, Poland, Lithuania and others.
GWEC also expects floating technology will come of age this decade, tripling the technical potential for offshore wind around the world. Initially the key markets for floating are France, Japan, South Korea, Scotland, Norway, Portugal, Spain and US Pacific Coast. Once commercial-scale projects are established and costs come down many other locations will come into play, for example South Africa, Canada, Philippines and many island states.
Riviera held a series of webinars on offshore wind in June. These are available to view in our webinar library